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Thousands of civilians flee homes due to violence in Sudan, says UN Independent Expert

South Sudan battle rages

UN Independent Expert in Sudan has warned that in the last two weeks, a new escalation of violence has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur.

NAN reports that Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Security Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme.

The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

In a statement on Friday in New York, Mr Aristide Nononsi, called for an immediate end to hostilities that have triggered new protection and humanitarian concerns in the long-restive region of Sudan.

He said that violence was not the way to resolve the current difficulties Sudan is facing, and must stop.

Nononsi urged all parties to the conflict to respect international human rights and humanitarian law, to ensure humanitarian access to people in need at all times, and protect unarmed civilians.

The Sudanese Government, he said, had a duty to facilitate free, full and unhindered access to all conflict-affected areas to the AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), UN agencies and other humanitarian organisations.

NAN reports that the UN said the ongoing hostilities between government forces and the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid have reportedly resulted in human rights violations and abuses.

The UN also said that the hostilities have resulted in violations of international humanitarian law, including destruction of civilian property and objects as well as considerable displacement of civilians, in addition to unspecified number of civilian casualties.

According to UNAMID, up to 21,338 civilians, mainly women and children, have fled into North Darfur state and have sought refuge around their camp as of Feb. 1.

The mission also said that no fewer than 15,000 others have fled into Central Darfur state, according to the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan.

The world body said that the number of internally displaced persons following the attacks on Mouli and surrounding villages in west Darfur is estimated at 5,000 civilians.

The civilians, it said, have mostly fled to El Geneina, while the number of civilians who sought refuge in Chad remains unknown.

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